The Cretan Brotherhood Community during COVID

Thanks to our members and volunteers, the Cretan Brotherhood community is working hard to stay connected despite the challenges from COVID-19.

Online Activities

The suspension of some operations has also resulted in increased online member engagement.

A Dance Teacher led video collaboration received attention from as far as Greece, while a Youth Committee singing collaboration pushed members out of their comfort zones!

Younger members got creative with the Club’s Easter Colouring book and by participating in the CYANZ Battle of Crete Art Competition, both shared online.

Meanwhile, older members have been contributing to the throwback project, which is collecting their stories about the Cretan club.

Volunteers also produced a series of live streams exclusively for members. In the series, 11 members were interviewed and over 4 hours of content was produced. The success of the program also led to a public broadcast of the 2019 Cretan Brotherhood Cup.

Dancing

Unfortunately periods of strict lock down forced dance classes to stop.

Smaller classes were temporarily reintroduced when restrictions eased, however these classes have since been stopped with new lockdown measures.

Teachers are maintaining communication and are prepared for return once restrictions ease, says Teacher Kelly Karagiannis.

“We had 2020 planned out the way we wanted to execute it with Antipodes, Battle of Crete, Workshops, Christmas – these are all things on the back burner. Dance teachers are constantly in contact to discuss what the rest of the year is going to look like and even potentially what next year will look like. We still have to have that vision in our minds and so we can hit the ground running when we do get back.”

Club Projects

In line with public health guidelines, some minor physical club operations have continued.

Volunteers completed minor capital projects, including painting new car park lines, installing hand sanitiser units and displaying new COVID safety signs around the club hall.

Meanwhile, Youth members completed a music program which taught participants how to play Cretan music on traditional instruments.

Members also donated generously to the Merimna Food Drive. The food drive proceeds will help new migrants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice President Eva Gotsis was inspired by the member response.

“I have to say, it’s amazing during these times with so many people effected, either their hours have been cut, learning to work from home, even become unemployed, whatever it is – they were still contacting to give so I think that for me, I take that on as something really huge.”

Youth

The Youth committee is continuing to meet regularly using Zoom to conduct online fortnightly meetings

The committee has used the down time to refocus on merchandising initiatives while its events calendar is put on hold explains Committee Member Taksia Tsaganas.

“We had a few events up in the air. We were discussing going live with these at our last meeting in June, but now with this new second wave that has come out, we’re waiting to see what’s happening with things and when things will start opening up again.”

Taksia explains the committee is still encouraged by the community activities.

“I feel really positive about the community, I think we are going from strength to strength and supporting each other. Especially at the start with the first wave and donations to new Greek families in Melbourne that really strengthened the community to fight this together but separately.”

Battle of Crete

Battle of Crete commemorations were necessarily scaled down this year.

The club participated in wreath laying ceremonies held at the the Shrine of Remembrance and in Galata, Crete.

The club also supported the Commemorative Church Broadcast the CYANZ Art Competition and ‘Creforce’, a commemorative book written by member Stella Tzobanakis-Dos Santos.

The Cretan Brotherhood also acknowledged the sad passing of Battle of Crete veteran Norman Maddock at the age of 97. Lest we forget.

What next?

Speaking about the near future, Vice President Eva Gotsis says getting back to normal safely is very much important to the committee.

“We were all very eager getting things back to normal with προσοχή. We coordinated with Senior members for their luncheons to resume, until this new lock-down happened. As a committee we’re just been keeping on top of what the authorities are saying and if we feel there is something we can do, we will.”

Eva says the focus for the committee will be very much ensuring the community comes back strong.

“We already have discussed the first function back being limited to 50 people and when this is over, we’ve discussed having functions, small ones more often to build up the community again. They can be informal, we don’t need musicians from Greece it will be just about connecting again.”

By Emmanuel Heretakis with Eva Gotsis, Kelly Karagiannis, and Taksia Tsaganas